Web of Cronyism: FCC, Telecoms Emails on ‘Net Neutrality’ Revealed

November 19, 2014—Debate continues to grow surrounding upcoming internet regulatory actions of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) called “net neutrality.” But the line in that debate isn’t drawn clearly between corporations and the government, as a recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request shows those two share common interests.

From the article at Vice News:

The 600-pages of documents, which include emails and letters, are especially noteworthy because they pertain to discussions revolving around rules for net neutrality, which FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler — he’s a former lobbyist for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and Nextel — is expected to unveil and enact in the coming weeks.

At the same time, the documents the FCC released do not tell the whole story about the agency’s net neutrality discussions with the telecom industry. The FCC said that in response to our FOIA request, it reviewed about 4,600 records, including 3,000 emails and “internal drafts, memoranda, charts, outlines,” and “notes.”

Wheeler, a major Obama fundraiser who raised $700,000 for his two presidential campaigns, has reportedly not yet decided how he will act. But some of the internal FCC documents show that telecom lobbyists and executives at internet service providers have a direct line to the chairman and have already attempted to influence his decision.

Read the whole article here.

Emails to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler came from all over the media industry, from a technology analyst for an investment firm to the head of NBC Sports to the top cable TV trade association.

What should be done about the revolving door between government, lobbyists, and industry? Share your thoughts in a comment.

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